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Sick kids are never fun. It can be hard on us mamas too. I’m sharing a list of the best foods for toddlers with an upset stomach + some other tips that you can use to help ease your little one’s tummy.
Best Foods For Diarrhea + Vomiting
Your child can experience diarrhea and/or vomiting for a number of reasons. They may have eaten something bad, the stomach flu, food poisoning, or a stomach bug.
With diarrhea + vomiting your main focus should be sooting the stomach + lots of fluids. To help with soothing their tummy follow the BRAT diet – bananas, rice, applesauce, + toast.
Here are some other foods for a toddler with an upset stomach when you are dealing with diarrhea or vomiting.
Clear broth not only helps to soothe your toddler’s upset tummy but also helps with dehydration. Have your child sip on low-sodium chicken or veggie broth.
Bone broth is the best option because there are so many additional benefits:
- Supports a healthy digestive system
- Supports immune function
- Help with inflammation
As your child feels better, you can transition them to a bland broth-based soup – like chicken noodle soup.
When your toddler has diarrhea you want to avoid high-fiber foods. Fiber helps to soften your stool + we want the opposite. We want your toddler’s stool to firm up – therefore you want to serve them low-fiber foods.
Low-fiber foods that are great for toddlers with an upset stomach – diarrhea are:
- Saltine crackers
- Plain toast
- Unsweetened breakfast cereal – don’t serve with milk
Now I want to point out that when your toddler is healthy they need fiber in their diet to avoid constipation. These are just dietary guidelines to follow when your child has diarrhea.
Overall when your child has an upset stomach it’s best to stick to bland foods so you avoid feeding them anything to further irritate their tummy.
This is where BRAT diet foods come in – bananas, white rice, applesauce, + toast. Other bland foods that are good to feed your toddler with an upset stomach are:
- Plain baked potato
- Plain mashed potatoes
- Jell-O – sugar-free is best
- Plain scrambled eggs
Note: Make sure to limit applesauce intake if your child has diarrhea. Applesauce contains fiber which helps to loosen up your child’s stool – not what we want!
Best Foods For Constipation
Constipation can occur for a number of reasons – dehydration, a low-fiber diet, or antibiotics. Constipation can be really uncomfortable for your toddler so you want to focus on increasing their fluids + fiber intake!
The most important thing is FLUIDS! Make sure your little one is drinking plenty of water. Offer water more often + make this the “first choice” between meals.
If you are having trouble getting your child to drink water try flavoring with fresh fruit or adding a splash of apple juice.
Another thing you want to add to your toddler’s diet is high-fiber foods:
- High-fiber cereals – 5 grams or more of fiber per serving
- Beans – hummus, chili, soup, nachos, or salad
- Whole grain bread – toast + sandos
- Whole grain pasta
- Brown rice
- Veggies – peas, corn, squash broccoli, carrots, cabbage, + cauliflower
- Fruit – pears, berries, apples, oranges, cantaloupe, prunes, + raisins
Another thing that may help with your child’s constipation is physical activity. Active play helps to keep your toddler’s bowel movements normal. Encourage short bursts of physical activity several times throughout the day.
Best Foods For Gas + Bloating
Toddlers may get gassy – which causes bloating – after eating something bad or gassy food. When your toddler is gassy you want to serve a somewhat bland diet. Stay away from:
- Gassy foods – broccoli, cabbage, beans
- Spicy foods
- Heavily spiced foods
You don’t have to serve a bland diet as strict as the one I mentioned in the diarrhea + vomiting section. But nothing too out of the ordinary for your child should do.
You can also try massaging their tummy, taking a warm bath, or getting up and moving around to help push the gas out and ease their stomach pain.
Fluids are important whenever your child is sick or has an upset stomach. Fluid replacement is even more important if your child is losing fluids – with diarrhea or vomiting! Losing too much fluid without it being replaced can lead to severe dehydration.
Fluids that are best to offer your child with an upset stomach are:
- Oral rehydration solution – like Pedialyte (I recommend consulting with your child’s health care provider before offering electrolyte solutions)
- Clear liquids or broth
- Sports drinks – like Gatorade or Power Ade (I recommend diluting with water because they are high in sugar)
- Ginger ale – make sure the ginger ale actually contains ginger
- Sprite – offer sparingly because of the sugar
- Homemade popsicles
When your child is struggling to keep much water down (or running through them):
You should offer your child small amounts of fluid (1-2 tablespoons of water or an oral rehydration solution – like Pedialyte) every 5 minutes.
After vomiting wait 30 minutes and try 1-2 tablespoons of water or electrolyte drinks.
Best Foods While Recovering From An Upset Stomach
Woo hoo! Your toddler is finally starting to recover + is feeling better! You will still want to be mindful of the foods you are offering them, although you don’t need to be as strict or bland. If your child has been on a fluids-only diet, make sure to take your time introducing solid foods back into their diet.
Some tips to offer your toddler as they are recovering from an upset stomach are:
- Try easy to eat, broth-based soups – like chicken noodle soup
- Avoid anything spicy, greasy, acidic, or sugary
- Serve low-sugar yogurt to help replace the good bacteria in their gut
- Reintroduce dairy products slowly
Still, make sure your child is drinking plenty of fluids! Hydration is key to your toddler’s recovery.
The most important thing here is to SLOWLY get them back to eating their regular diet.
Foods To Avoid With An Upset Stomach
While there is a list of great foods for your toddler with an upset stomach there are also foods that you should avoid serving them. These foods include:
- Gassy foods – corn, broccoli, cauliflower, + other green leafy veggies (some of these high fiber veggies are recommended for constipation)
- Greasy foods
- Fatty foods
- Foods with a lot of seasoning
- Dairy – plain non-fat, low-sugar yogurt may be okay
- Caffeine – chocolate or soft drinks
- Sugary drinks and foods
- Apple juice (or other fruit juice) – can cause diarrhea (may be good in moderation for constipation)
Other Tips To Help Your Toddler’s Upset Stomach
Food plays an important role when your toddler is sick with an upset stomach, but there are a few other things that you can do to help your little one recover:
- Rest, rest, rest!
- A warm compress or heating pad on their tummy
- Warm bath – you’ll want to avoid if they have a fever
- Massage their belly – helps with gas and constipation
- Check with your child’s healthcare provider about OTC medications that may help
Let’s Wrap It Up
Hopefully, now you have a few ideas that you can use to help your toddler through their tummy troubles. Remember fluids, rest, and offer the best food for your toddler’s upset stomach!